The plot around Canada’s Trans-Mountain oil pipeline expansion has thickened to the point that nobody can say anymore whether the project will survive or go under. If the latest remarks from Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean are any indication, the latter has become a bit more likely than the former.
In the company’s Q1 financial report conference call, Kean said that the problem with Trans Mountain was not financial but political. The executive referred to Ottawa’s offer to provide financing for the project if Kinder Morgan is uncertain about investing more in it. Yet, according to Kean, what Kinder Morgan needs from the authorities is not money but an end to the political opposition from the government in British Columbia.
Unfortunately, the B.C. government seems set on continuing on the same course. This week, PM John Horgan said the province will take Alberta to court if it passes legislation seeking to reduce deliveries of crude and fuel to its stubborn neighbor.
The fight has drawn in two more provinces as well. Saskatchewan has sided with Alberta, saying it will introduce its own anti-B.C. legislation, although it is not such a major exporter of oil and fuels to the province. In Quebec, opposition Parti Québécois has offered B.C. its know-how in asserting provincial control over the local environment, which B.C. is seeking to do in order to prevent Ottawa from using federal jurisdiction to force it to accept Trans Mountain.